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Which Is The Most Competitive Conference In The NFC?

Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports

We know that the NFC is the superior conference, but which division is the best?

It is widely accepted that of the two conferences in the NFL, the NFC is superior in pretty much every aspect: offense, defense, coaching, and just pure roster talent. Ten NFC teams finished with a .500 record or better in 2017.

There is a much more juicy debate regarding which division in the NFC is the toughest. Is it the North, South, East, or West that contains the best overall talent and the most competitive makeup of teams? The rankings that follow stack up the overall strengths of these divisions against one another. 

*To watch the videos below, please click on the link with the video to go to YouTube.

4. NFC North

2017 Combined Record: 34-30

The NFC North will see great year-to-year improvement. With Matt Patricia stepping in as the new head coach for Detroit, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers coming back from injury, the North will be even more competitive than last season.

The Vikings are still the team to beat. The Purple People Eaters made the NFC Championship in January and the acquisition of quarterback Kirk Cousins will make them even tougher to beat.

Meanwhile, the Bears should have renewed confidence as first-round quarterback Mitchell Trubisky enters his second season, and first-round linebacker Roquan Smith emerges as the hopeful long-term defensive identity replacement for Brian Urlacher


3. NFC West

2017 Combined Record: 34-30

The NFC West features emerging head coaches Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, two of the best offensive minds in the game. Quarterbacks Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, Russell Wilson, and Josh Rosen will be setting off fireworks in this division for many years to come. The Arizona Cardinals have some issues to work out with a new head coach and quarterback controversy heading into the upcoming season, but Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle each have a shot at a playoff spot.

The Rams are a head above the other two contenders, having completed one of the most impactful free agency periods in recent memory. The Greatest Show on Turf adds Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Brandin Cooks, and others to its elite roster on the team’s mission to improve upon last season’s stunning turnaround. 


2. NFC East

2017 Combined Record: 32-32

The NFC East will be fascinating to watch in 2018. The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles get their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz back and retain backup and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. The Eagles have arguably the best roster in the league and we will almost certainly see them in the playoffs again this season. 

The Dallas Cowboys have a great shot at a Wild Card spot. They have cut ties with wide receiver Dez Bryant and his $12.5 million contract, maintain one of the best offensive lines in the league, and get star running back Ezekiel Elliott back without an impending suspension hanging overhead. The Washington Redskins will hover around .500 for another season but have made some interesting moves in the offseason to set them up for the near future. The team has traded quarterback Kirk Cousins for Alex Smith and added promising wide receiver Paul Richardson.

Finally, the New York Giants are coming off of their worst season since 1974 and will be able to at least double their win total from last season in which they finished 3-13. New offensive-minded Head Coach Pat Shurmur, first-round rookie running back Saquon Barkley, and a receiving corps (yes, pretty much the entire receiving corps) coming back from injury are sure to combine for an offensive surge in 2018.


1. NFC South 

2017 Combined Record: 37-27

The NFC South is the best-quarterbacked division in the NFL, and possibly the best of all time. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton have each made the Super Bowl, and those three plus Jameis Winston have a combined 19 Pro Bowl selections. The identity of this division goes far beyond its quarterbacks, however. 

The rosters in the NFC South are dense with elite playmakers (Julio Jones, Vic Beasley, Luke Kuechly, and Gerald McCoy to name a few). Atlanta and Carolina both finished last season with top-10 defenses, while Atlanta, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay’s offenses each finished in the top-10. We will see two NFC South teams in the playoffs this season. 


Edited by Jeremy Losak, Dani Quintana.

SQuiz
Which team lost the NFC Championship in the 2007-2008 season?
Created 6/1/18
  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. New York Giants

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